Friday, May 25, 2018

Audiobook Review: Barbarian Lover by Ruby Dixon

Series:     Ice Planet Barbarians #3
Pub. Date:April 10, 2018
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrators::Mason Lloyd
Hollie Jackson
Length:5 hrs 47 min

Barbarian Alien is the third book in the Ice Planet Barbarians series, and the series is progressing right along with each book advancing the timeline chronologically. The aliens and humans are settling into the caves and becoming comfortable with one another, and waiting to see who will resonate or get knocked up next.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

ARC Review: You Never Forget Your First Earl by Ella Quinn

Series:Worthingtons #5
Pub. Date:May 29, 2018
Length:304 pgs

I have been enjoying the tight-knit family in the Worthingtons series, even though it seems I have missed a book along the way. It's not necessary to read these in order, particularly if you are starting with You Never Forget Your First Earl. In this book, we have exhausted our Worthingtons, and it seems and we are going with a friend of the family instead of one of the Worthington brood.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

ARC Review: All the Ever Afters: The Untold Story of Cinderella's Stepmother by Danielle Teller

Pub. Date:May 22, 2018
Publisher:William Morrow
Length:384 pages

All the Ever Afters: The Untold Story of Cinderella's Stepmother is Danielle Teller's fiction debut*, and she certainly starts off with a unique premise and interesting tale. Teller is a former doctor with some impressive institutions on her curriculum vitae, and I am a sucker for a brainiac fiction author. So this was a book that I was highly anticipating once William Morrow brought it to my attention.

As you can tell from the title, this is the story of Agnes, the well-known evil stepmother to beloved princess and cinder girl, Cinderella. But All the Ever Afters provides an alternate view, and I enjoyed the reimagining of the story through Agnes' eyes. This is not a romance, nor is it a story I would recommend for children. It tackles some serious subject matter, adult situations, and I think will be appreciated by more mature fantasy and fairytale fans.

Monday, May 21, 2018

ARC Review: The Prince by Katharine Ashe

Series:Devil's Dukes #4
Pub. Date:May 29, 2018
Length:384 pages

The Prince is the fourth installment of the Devil's Dukes series, and one that I was anticipating after meeting our hero, Ziyaeddin, in The Duke. The Devil's Dukes are a spinoff of Ashe's Falcon Club series, which I have not read. I don't feel like you need to read the earlier books before embarking with The Prince, but if you want to read his introductory book, check out The Duke.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Audiobook Review: The Unseelie King by Heather Killough-Walden

Series:     The Kings #6
Pub. Date:March 20, 2018
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrator:Antony Ferguson
Length:6 hrs 51 min

Man, it's been four or five years since I've read the earlier books in this series and I couldn't for the life of me remember what happened in those books. I probably should have went back and re-read at least the last book, but I was being optimistic. Luckily, I was still entertained even though my memory failed me.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Review: The Duke by Katharine Ashe

Series:     Devil's Dukes #3
Pub. Date:Sept. 26, 2017
Length:395 pgs

The Devil's Dukes series is a spinoff of Katharine Ashe's Falcon Club series. I have not read the Falcon Club series yet, and I tried to start the Devil's Dukes last year with The Rogue, and I felt too lost to finish the book. When Avon sent along the fourth book in the series, The Prince, I decided to give this one another shot. I wanted to try The Duke, because I am a sucker for a broody dark duke, particularly a Scot.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

ARC Review: The Bride Takes a Groom by Lisa Berne

Series:     Penhallow Dynasty #3
Pub. Date: April 24, 2018
Length:384 pgs

The Bride Takes a Groom is the third book in the Penhallow Dynasty series, and my first read by this author. Penhallow is an esteemed and revered name in London society, and the family bucks tradition by marrying for love and maintaining close relationships throughout the family lines. I really liked everyone in the family, even Aunt Henrietta, who is a reformed stuffy matron sort.

Captain Hugo Penhallow has been in America fighting a war for the past 10 years or so, and has returned home after being shot and breaking his leg. He rushes back home to see his mother and siblings, and finds all the love he missed while he was away. Unfortunately he also quickly realizes their dire financial situation, and he sets out to remedy their lack of resources right away. I liked that Hugo was an amiable and easy-going fellow - nothing ever seemed to ruffle his feathers. His dedication to his family and even his bratty bride was admirable. I would have liked to spend more time in Hugo's head, and wished that his character had been developed more once the story was established.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Audiobook Review: One Foot in the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Series:     Night Huntress #2
Pub. Date:Oct. 20, 2010
Publisher:Blackstone Audio
Narrator::Tavia Gilbert
Length:9 hrs 47 min

My binge of the Night Huntress series continued right through my 3-day road trip, and I of course couldn't skip probably the most infamous book of the series. Having met Jeaniene a few times at signings now, I have heard her speak about this book more than once. Whenever Chapter 32 gets brought up, I can't help but chuckle at her story. She really is one of the most down-to-earth, humble and funny authors that I have met.

Note: This review may contain spoilers for prior books in the series.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Audiobook Review: The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton

Pub. Date: March 27, 2018
Publisher:Macmillan Audio
Narrators::Kate Reading
Length:26 hrs 21 min

Plot, plot, where is the plot? I've given The Queens of Innis Lear more than 11 hours of my life. Unfortunately, I don't think I can give it more. This audiobook is a monster at nearly 26.5 hours long, and I made it to just about 43%. I kept sallying forth waiting for something to happen... but I have grown too impatient to continue.

I really wanted to like this story. The story is a retelling of Shakespeare's King Lear supposedly told in a Game of Thrones style drama and battle. Sounds interesting, right? It could have been, but nothing ever happens and it became tiresome and boring.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

ARC Review: The Crooked Staircase by Dean Koontz

Series:     Jane Hawk #3
Pub. Date: May 8, 2018
Length:512 pgs

I have really been enjoying this gripping page-turner series featuring former FBI agent, Jane Hawk. This third installment of the series may be the most action-packed and devastating yet, and it sure to keep you turn the pages until late in the night.

To recap the series so far - Jane is on the run seeking justice for her husband who was murdered with the use of nanotechnology. During her investigation, she uncovered a huge conspiracy to enslave and eliminate a large section of society. The players are so powerful and dangerous that Jane had to hide away her son and go underground. The method for world domination employed by the villains is truly frightening - the implantation of nanotechnology which takes away free will. Forget "it's a tumor" a la Schwarzenneger, the next time you get a headache, your mind will immediately jump to spiders laying eggs in your brain. (((Shudder)))

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

ARC Review: The Whispering Room by Dean Koontz

Series:     Jane Hawk #2
Pub. Date: Nov. 21, 2017
Length:512 pgs

I've been a bad blogger and this is another book from my blogger shame pile. I don't have a good excuse for being so late with this review, other than sometimes its hard reading to a calendar. When you come up to a certain book on the schedule, sometimes you just aren't in the mood for that story or genre or trope. I think that is what happened here. I'm a long time Koontz fan, and I really enjoyed the last book in this series, so it has nothing to do with the writing or author or even the book itself. It's just me being moody, and I need to get better at that.

So the Jane Hawk series started with a bang in The Silent Corner, and the writing seemed to be classic Koontz. Dynamic suspense and chock full of action and conspiracy theories - the things that I loved most about his writing style. I am happy to report that the momentum was carried through with this next installment, The Whispering Room

Monday, May 7, 2018

Audiobook Review: Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Series:     Night Huntress #1
Pub. Date:March 31, 2010
Publisher:Blackstone Audio
Narrator::Tavia Gilbert
Length:11 hrs 17 min

This is my fourth read of the Night Huntress series, and I couldn't believe that I haven't reviewed them on the blog before. Probably because once I get going on this series, I tend to binge the books one after another and get carried away before I manage to put pen to paper for a review. So why am I reading them again this time? Well I was recently recommending the series to a friend and it put the bug in my brain that I was missing me some Cat and Bones... and I just had to get back to my favorite English vampire and his fiery assassin. 

Friday, May 4, 2018

Audiobook Review: Hot and Badgered by Shelly Laurenston

Series:     Honey Badgers #1
Pub. Date:March 27, 2018
Tantor Audio
Narrator::Traci Odom
Length:433 pgs
13 hrs 14 min

Hot and Badgered by Shelly Laurenston is the first book in a fun new paranormal romance series, the Honey Badgers, featuring three certifiable sisters and a diverse cast of paranormal characters. 

You don't find many honey badgers in the shapeshifter world of romance, so I was glad to have something a little different here. And the honey badger family in this series are nucking futs, much like their real honey badger kin. They are high strung, anxiety-ridden, vicious, obstinate, and largely unconcerned with others lives besides their own (and their close family). All of the sisters in this family are POC for those readers looking for a little diversity in their romance.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

ARC Review: Dark Queen by Faith Hunter

Series:     Jane Yellowrock #12
Pub. Date:May 1, 2018
Length:432 pgs

Sigh, I was so happy to be back with Jane and the gang that I really didn't want this book to end. Then as I was reading, with this being the end of a story arc (the Sangre Duello), I was afraid it would be the end of the series. Jane and Beast have become one of my very favorite heroine pairs in urban fantasy, and I hope they stay around for the foreseeable future.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

ARC Review: Someone to Care by Mary Balogh

Series:     Westcotts #4
Pub. Date:May 1, 2018
Length:384 pgs

Someone to Care is the 4th book in the Westcott series, revolving around a family who got the shock of their lives to discover that their father/husband was a bigamist, thereby illegitimizing his (second) marriage and his children of the second wife. This was quite the scandal back in the day, causing the ton to scorn the family. So we follow the Westcotts as the navigate this new dimension of their lives, learning to manage the fall-out and find a way to move on.

Monday, April 30, 2018

ARC Review: My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

Pub. Date: April 3, 2018
Publisher:William Morrow
Length:652 pgs

I love the Dray-Kamoie writing duo. I think I've learned more from these two ladies than I did in my entire high school American History class. That is just sad. But their captivating writing draws me in and keeps me turning the page (until 3:30am consequentially). I only wish more authors of history books wrote in this storytelling style as we would surely retain more than I did from the bare recitation of facts in a history book.

My Dear Hamilton is the story about Elizabeth Schulyer Hamilton, the wife and champion of founding father, Alexander Hamilton. Told from Eliza's point of view, we get an intimate and eye-opening glimpse into the life of a great, but flawed, man. We also see the strength and courage of a female patriot of the time, working to support her husband through thick and thin, despite danger, strife and betrayal. I have the utmost respect for Eliza, truly one of the mother's of our great country.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Audiobook Review: Lauren's Barbarian by Ruby Dixon

Series:     Icehome #1
Pub. Date:March 20, 2018
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrators:    Felicity Munroe
Sean Crisden
Length:8 hrs 24 min

Lauren's Barbarian is the first book in the Icehome series, a spinoff of Ice Planet Barbarians. As I have committed to listening to Ice Planet Barbarians in audio, I have not finished reading that series before embarking on this spinoff. While I don't think it's absolutely necessary that you have finished the first series... I didn't like starting this spinoff without reading the other books. There was just too much that had happened on the Ice Planet and I felt like I was missing out. Otherwise, this book is just as good as the others that I have read.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

ARC Review: Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Pub. Date:April 24, 2018
Publisher:Wednesday Books
Length:352 pgs

Sky in the Deep is the debut fantasy novel from Adrienne Young, and I see good things in this author's future. While this book has been classified as fantasy, don't expect many fantastical elements.  There are no magical or futuristic elements. We are basically operating in a made-up world that had a Viking feel with two warring people's who follow different gods. So you can expect lots of action and fighting and conflict.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

ARC Review: Savor You by Kristen Proby

Series:     Fusion #5
Pub. Date:Apr. 24, 2018
Publisher:William Morrow
Length:288 pgs

This is my first read by Kristen Proby, and I'm sure I will be reading more of her in the future. I delved into the Fusion series with Savor You, which is the fifth installment. I haven't read the earlier books and, while there is some character crossover, I didn't feel too horribly lost or overly curious about the other couples and characters. 

Monday, April 23, 2018

Audiobook Review: By His Touch by Adriana Anders

Series:     Blank Canvas #2
Pub. Date:June 20, 2017
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrator:Wendy Tremont King
Length:13 hrs 25 min

This is another of my blogger shame books that fell through the cracks last year, but I was happy to find it in audio for my latest road trip. I really liked the first book, and I was glad to see that the Blank Canvas series is staying in small town Virginia with our philanthropic dermatologist and her tattooed and traumatized patients.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Audiobook Review: Barbarian Alien by Ruby Dixon

Series:     Ice Planet Barbarians #2
Pub. Date:March 20, 2018
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrators:Hollie Jackson
Mason Lloyd
Length:6 hrs 27 min

I just love these big blue freaky barbarians. The audiobooks simply can't come out fast enough for me, and its been really hard not to binge through the print copies on Kindle Unlimited. But the narrators do a good job with the story and they keep me entertained as I drive and clean the house, so I'm committed to waiting on the audio versions.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

ARC Review: Loving the Secret Billionaire by Adriana Anders

Series:     Love at Last #1
Pub. Date:April 19, 2018
Length:113 pgs

Loving the Secret Billionaire is the first installment in Adriana Anders' Love at Last novella series. I am a fan of Anders' writing style and having been reading the Blank Canvas series, but I wasn't able to connect with this story. The writing style was fine - I just got caught up in the pitfalls of a novella and wanted more information.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

ARC Review: A Match Made in Bed by Cathy Maxwell

Series:     Spinster Heiresses #2
Pub. Date:April 17, 2018
Length:384 pgs

This is the second installment of Cathy Maxwell's Spinster Heiresses series featuring a group of three heroines with "new money" so to speak, and less-than-desirable family connections. Our spinsters, Leonie, Cassandra and Willa bonded over their struggle on the marriage mart, each with a father seeking to purchase a title with his daughter's life. Last season, when the newly-appointed Duke of Camberly appeared on the scene, our trio made a game of his attention.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Audiobook Review: Making Faces by Amy Harmon

Pub. Date:March 19, 2014
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrators:Rob Shapiro
Length:6 hrs 33 min
Source:Audible Romance

This is a book from my blogger shame pile that I got from NetGalley some time ago. I actually picked it up and put it down a couple times due to the age of the characters. I am not much of a young adult reader and I didn't realize that this was a young adult coming-of-age type novel. I generally like Amy Harmon, so I didn't want to write the story off so it has sat out there lingering for a while. But when I saw that it was available on Audible Romance, I decided to give it another shot. I'm glad I was listening while I was at home, as there was definitely some ugly crying and tissues needed for this one.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Audiobook and Movie Review: The Shape of Water by Guillermo Del Toro and Daniel Kraus

Series:     The Protector #1
Pub. Date:March 6, 2018
Publisher:MacMillan Audio
Narrators:Jenna Lamia
Length:13 hrs 27 min

So this book is totally out of my wheelhouse for romances that I normally read, but I had heard of the movie and the sci-fi/fantasy aspect of the story intrigued me. Now that I have read the book, I decided to rent the movie to see how it compared. Stay tuned below for the movie review!

This story is told from multiple points of view, most of which I will touch on briefly below.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

ARC Review: What a Difference a Duke Makes by Lenora Bell

Series:     School of Dukes #1
Pub. Date:March 27, 2018
Length:384 pgs

What a Difference a Duke Makes is the first installment of a new series by Lenora Bell, School for Dukes. This was a beguiling story inspired by Mary Poppins and I had such a good time reading it.

Miss Mari Perkins is our heroine, and  that's Mari-rhymes-with-starry, if you please. Mari was raised in an oppressive orphanage and has come to London to find work as a governess and find out more about her her parentage. When the proprietor of the employment agency refuses Mari a position, she takes it upon herself to present herself to a duke's residence and pose as a quality governess. Mari was a delightful heroine. She was courageous, compassionate and cheerful. I was really surprised at Mari's optimistic nature given her difficult childhood, but I appreciated it all the same. She was great with the children, and even better with the distracted duke. My only hang up with Mari's character was her name... the rhymes-with-starry bit just didn't work with my southern accent, so I called her Mary most of the time.